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B'More Green An environmental blog for everyday living
First of three falcon eggs hatches at Transamerica Tower

The wait is over -- at least for the first of three falcon eggs laid at Transamerica Tower.

An eyas, the name for a baby peregrine falcon, hatched Monday morning amid a downpour.

It came about a day later than expected. A falcon named Barb laid the first of three eggs April 12. Barb and her companion, Boh, are the latest in a long history of falcon couples to occupy a ledge on the 33rd floor of 100 Light St.

A webcam operated by the Chesapeake Conservancy captured the birth, and has been documenting the life and times of the falcons.

The second egg is expected to hatch by Tuesday, and the third by Friday, according to the conservancy.

The eyasses are expected to star on the webcam into the summer – they typically take their first flight about two months after hatching. Until then, Boh and Barb will likely be seen feeding their young meals.

The falcons were long the subject of news articles after a female named Scarlett established a nest on the ledge in 1978, outside what were then the...

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Maryland honeybee losses among highest in U.S., survey finds

Maryland's beekeepers lost nearly 61 percent of their colonies on average in the past year, one of the highest declines in the nation, according to an annual survey released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Summer bee die-offs in the state and nationwide outstripped winter losses for the first time, surprising scientists involved in the survey. A University of Maryland entomologist who helps coordinate the survey said parasites remain a top suspect in the bee declines but suggested changing farming practices and pesticide use also may be factors, at least nationally.

Environmentalists called for renewed scrutiny of a widely used group of pesticides linked in some research with bee declines. A key Maryland lawmaker promised an investigation.

Nationwide, managed honeybee colonies suffered annual losses of 42 percent, according to the survey, up from 34 percent the previous year. Winter losses, which had been the focus of concern about "colony collapse disorder" several years ago, declined...

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City moves to expand electric-vehicle charging in municipal garages

Driving an electric car in Baltimore is about to become a little less anxiety-producing, as the city moves to double the number of spaces in municipal parking garages where battery-powered vehicles can be recharged.

The Board of Estimates agreed Wednesday to let a Baltimore-based company install about 20 new charging outlets in up to six city-owned garages. The agreement calls for Electric Vehicle Institute Inc. to install and maintain the plug-in stations at its own cost for up to three years.

Company officials said they are committing an undisclosed amount of their own funds to the installation to promote electric-vehicle use, though they expect tax breaks to partially offset the costs.

"There are all sorts of challenges to EV adoption," said Matthew Wade, president and CEO of EVI. "The one thing we can do to help is provide this charging infrastructure."

Wade's firm, started in 2010, markets both stationary and portable electric-vehicle chargers, cords that drivers can use to plug in to...

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'Living Seashore' exhibit opens at National Aquarium

The bell of a moon jellyfish located in the National Aquarium's new "Living Seashore" exhibit is cool and slippery to the touch. The pale globe pulses up briefly and all but imperceptibly against a visitor's outstretched palm before gliding past, almost like the beating of a heart.

"I was kind of scared of getting stung, so I had to try five times before I could touch the jellyfish," said 10-year-old Marlon Jackson, who was moving around two "touch pools" Friday with his class from James K. Polk Elementary School in Alexandria, Va.

"But I finally did, and it felt pretty good. I want to touch it again."

The $5.5 million "Living Seashore" officially opens to the public Tuesday — the first major tourist attraction to be unveiled in Baltimore since the riots and looting that erupted following the April 19 death of Freddie Gray. Prosecutors say that the 25-year-old man suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody.

City officials hope that the rare chance to handle marine life in the...

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Scientists eye increase in harmful algae in Chesapeake

If spring is here, can algae blooms be far behind?

Every year, as flowers bloom and trees leaf out, algae — microscopic plants — begin to flourish in the water.

Most algal blooms are innocuous, but some can be harmful, poisoning fish, birds and other animals. Others suffocate fish by depleting the water of oxygen they need to survive, contributing to the "dead zone" that forms every summer in the Chesapeake Bay.

A recent study by researchers with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science finds that there have been increases in two of the more common strains of harmful algae that often plague the bay. Though they tend to flare up at different times, they share a common source, the study notes: the deluge of plant-nourishing nutrients that pours into the bay from sewage, farm and urban runoff, and air pollution.

Reviewing data gathered by the state from 1991 to 2008, the center's scientists found the median annual number of blooms of one type of algae, Prorocentrum minimum,...

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Residents pool efforts with Blue Water Baltimore to help Towson save the bay

You can't see the steam from the street. To get to it, you have to find the break in the shrubs behind the Orokawa Family Center Y on West Chesapeake Avenue. The break opens to a steeply sloped path that leads to the dirt trail that parallels the stream.

Last month, on a bright, sunny Saturday morning, Becky Galloway led a group of 38 volunteers in the West Towson Neighborhood Association's first-ever stream cleanup, a half-mile stretch of Towson Run.

The Y provided coffee. Galloway brought doughnuts. Towson University's Theta Chi fraternity sent 20 "big, strong guys," said Galloway, who removed chunks of concrete that had found their way into the stream. Blue Water Baltimore, an environmental nonprofit, contributed planning, training and equipment like gloves and trash bags.

In the end, the stream cleanup yielded 12 large trash bags of refuse, including a road sign, two wallets (empty), a safe (also empty), a broken table, a case of beer (unopened), 62 plastic bottles and innumerable...

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